Friday, June 5, 2020

"Want You for My Girlfriend" by 4 By Four

Song#:  3155
Date:  06/13/1987
Debut:  91
Peak:  79
Weeks:  6
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  This vocal quartet from NYC consisted of brothers Damen and Lance Heyward along with cousins Jeraude Jackson and Steve Gray. The group had a New Edition vibe to them and that got the attention of Capitol Records, who may have been looking for their own version of the hitmakers. They were setup with songwriter/producer Charles Carter (Slave, Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame) and recorded several tracks with some co-written by members of the group. But it seems they needed a couple more potential hits for their self-titled debut album and some assistance was given by the team of Charles Carter and Chuck Jackson, who wrote and produced this first single. It would do quite well at R&B reaching #8. That success led to the song crossing over to the Pop chart for a few weeks. A second single, "Come Over," written and produced by Melvin Riley, Jr. (of Ready for the World), would also crack the R&B Top 10 (#10), but it failed to make the Pop chart. The LP's final single, "Don't Put the Blame on Me," would only scrape the R&B chart at #72. The album would top out at #28 R&B and #141 Pop. The results were positive and it seemed the group was poised for more success, but then something happened that brought 4 By Four to a sudden halt. A couple of posts mention that group had a dispute with their management, but whatever the situation was, the group quietly dissolved and never recorded again.

ReduxReview:  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this. Whichever of the guys is singing lead vocals (I think it is Damen Heyward) sounded like the real version of Prince's manipulated vocal alter ego "Camille," which oddly is the voice Prince used on his own girlfriend song "If I Was Your Girlfriend." It threw me off a bit. These guys were still in their late teens, but I didn't expect such a high-pitched voice coming my way. The production is pretty good with hints of the Jam & Lewis/Minneapolis sound. The chorus is fine and it grooves along well in an 80s R&B/dance-pop fashion. It wasn't strong enough to break on the Pop chart, but it wasn't a bad debut single from the New Edition wannabes.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  It seems that after the group split, Damen Heyward was the only member that stayed in the music business. He would later end up joining the Force MD's and tour with them while also working as a background vocalist for artists like R&B singer Joe ("Stutter," #1 Pop/#1 R&B, 2001). He later became a music teacher, Pastor, and gospel music artist.


No comments:

Post a Comment